Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor: Reader’s opinions on Cal Poly salaries, government shutdown

Cal Poly Provost Kathleen Enz Finken announced that she will be stepping down after nearly seven years with the university. Finken’s annual salary is $344,556.
Cal Poly Provost Kathleen Enz Finken announced that she will be stepping down after nearly seven years with the university. Finken’s annual salary is $344,556. SanLuisObispo

In the Jan. 16 edition you reported on the retirement of Cal Poly Provost Kathleen Enz Finken, noting along the way that with benefits she annually earns $344,556.

I would hope your readers will keep that figure in mind the next time they hear someone from Cal Poly’s well-provided for administration suggest the university needs more money.

To put Ms. Enz Finken’s salary in some context, the vice president of the United States earns (benefits not considered) $243,500, while the chief justice of the Supreme Court earns $267,000 annually, again without considering benefits.

In a real world, which clearly is terra incognita for our state university system, the income of a university provost, however important to the smooth functioning of the university an administrator might be, the level of importance should fall somewhere below that of the vice president or chief justice.

Moreover, Ms. Enz Finken’s salary and, not to forget, generous retirement package should prompt The Tribune to ask just how much other administrators at Cal Poly earn and to seek some kind of explanation for what appears to be a quiet but effective raid on the public purse.

Russ Surber, Paso Robles

“I have a dream...”

On Saturday, I was among the thousands marching in the Truth to Power Women’s March in San Luis Obispo. I send out thanks to the organizers, the speakers, the musicians, police and firefighters, the volunteers and the marchers who came together to help us make our voices heard. In Mitchell Park that morning no one was a stranger — everyone was welcomed and accepted. The sense of unity, vision, purpose, and promise created a strong bond. Hopefulness, elation, and good will for all surrounded us.

But what was on the news from Washington, D.C., that night? A video of a Native American Elder and Vietnam Veteran, Nathan Phillips, quietly chanting and drumming as he was surrounded by mocking, disrespectful, smirking Christian schoolboys wearing their MAGA caps. The school officials say they will punish the boys, but who will teach them respect, compassion, kindness, acceptance, and love?

On Jan. 21 we honored Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. He said “I have to decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

My sign for the march read: Dare to Dream / Nurture your Dreams. I’m dreaming of a better America.

Helen K. Davie, Templeton

Who’s responsible for shutdown?

Ever since Newt Gingrich, it seems that Republican legislators have grown accustomed to legislation by extortion, but now the president? I do not recall that the president swore to an oath that says “I will faithfully execute the laws, so long as Congress gives me the laws I want?”

There is such a thing as a veto overide. The president is not the king; he does not dictate the laws of the land.

Nancy Pelosi and the House have passed bills that happened to be approved by 100 percent of the Senate in the previous session. That was before Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh made threats that caused Trump to change his mind.

So, in reality, Mitch McConnell is Trump’s enabler, by refusing to allow the Senate to vote on these bills. Mitch has gone into hiding from his responsibilities. The ball is squarely in his court. #WhereisMitch?

James Carlisle, Atascadero

More thoughts on shutdown

Nancy Pelosi should stop parading her anti-border-wall politics as morality. The border is a problem that requires practical solutions from the ground, not solutions from on high.

Anyone can be concerned about sharing a boarder with a country which has a 90+ percent impunity rate. And unchecked migration across the border does not improve the lives of migrants, unless you call working for low wages without protections and no right to vote anywhere an improvement. The merits of concrete versus technical surveillance and patrol can be debated. The reasons for migration can be found, and addressed.

President Trump’s own dream of a concrete wall with his name on it appears no different than the dreams of historic rulers who put their names on pyramids and castles. But Trump is not a king. He was elected in a democracy. Congress has the power of the purse.

To break the shutdown ,Trump could open the government first and accept an offer of partial funding for the wall. Let Trump be the name on the first miles. Make the funding for the wall up for renewal every year. The people can decide if they want to finish the monolith.

Camina Tripodi, Santa Maria

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